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WTF is Ephemeral Marketing?

  • By joann Nair
  • On September 6, 2018
  • 0 Comments

Like some one night stands, ephemeral content is short lived but can leave a lasting impression (Good or Bad depending on Execution)! 

Usually, marketers create content with the intention of it being available for a long time. However, rich media that is accessible only for a short time, primarily in the form of images and videos, is now gaining traction. Ephemeral content is not new; it’s just that with social media the possibilities of this kind of content have increased as have opportunities for marketers to capitalize on them.

Ephemeral Content as a marketing strategy seeks to use temporary content to take advantage of a target audience’s fear of missing out or FOMO. After all, no one want’s to miss out right? 

All content on social media is ephemeral in one of two ways; the content itself is temporary (such as on Snapchat and Facebook & Instragram Stories) or the attention the content receives from its target audience is temporary (i.e. it grabs our attention at that moment and then we never revisit it again; share, like and forget). Indeed, it is this ephemeral nature of social media that sustains the popularity of such platforms. 

What It Can Do

The primary goals of any ephemeral marketing content should be to:

Invite Immediate Responses: Whether it’s a quick purchasing decision, quick signup or a quick share, like or comment the goal must be to elicit an immediate response from users. The limited-time-only characteristics of ephemeral content create a sense of urgency in the user and FOMO kicks in, which is an extremely effective marketing strategy.

Increase Engagement: While brands can use such content to push products and services, ephemeral content also lets users engage with the brand on a more personal level. Ephemeral marketing strategies can also encourage user generated content, which can thrill and excite like few other marketing tools can. Involving the user in the marketing creates a sense of kinship toward the brand.

Major Benefits 

Increased Content Volumes without Increased Budgets (No need to break the bank but you may need to break your head to keep it all coming!): Ephemeral content is about quick everything; from views to likes to purchases. Thus, the quality of the content does not need to be spectacular in terms of thematic and aesthetic execution. It just needs to be emotionally catchy, appear genuine and trigger a response. Thus it’s possible to create greater volumes of content faster and with less effort and lower overheads.

Boost Loyalty (People love being a part of something – even if it’s for as long as it takes to share something): Transparency is something consumers today love and take very seriously. Through ephemeral marketing you can increase the perceived transparency of your brand and thus increase its likeability and visibility to build a solid reputation. Through ephemeral content you can showcase the inner workings of your company in quick and engaging ways through social media stories; allowing consumers to witness the culture of your company in everyday life will only increase their loyalty towards your brand.

How to Execute (Yes, we mean kill it!)

Tell a Story: Before you do anything, make sure you have a story to tell. Have it mapped out before you begin. No one wants to listen to someone who doesn’t know what they’re saying!

Which Format: You can use videos, stills or memes or a combination of these to get your message across. If you want to encourage user generated content, then you need to communicate all the relevant details to your audience so they can produce the content you have in mind.

Keep it Short: Remember that keeping things short is important. The idea is quick views, quick responses and increased engagement. It’s all fast girls and fast cars when it comes to ephemeral content. Remember to also keep the content to the point and stick to one idea with each execution. 

Engage Influencers (Consumers love it when they don’t feel marketed to): When it comes to ephemeral content, especially user generated and driven content; social influencers are a potent tool for marketers. We’ve previously done a round up on Influencer Marketing and the Top 10 Instagram Influencers of Colombo where you can gain an in-depth understanding of how influencer marketing works, if you need to. Influencers can increase the reach of your ephemeral marketing and lend an air of authenticity and genuineness to your brand.

Maintain Flow of Content but also Purpose (i.e. don’t lose the plot!): One of the pitfalls of creating content that fades quickly is that you need to create more and more content. When executed well, this can be a great thing but when executed poorly it can tarnish your image. Therefore, make sure to have a system in place to decide whether new content fits in with the purpose of your campaign. Always remember what the original purpose was and ask if all new content is in line with it. The most effective campaigns have a narrow focus along with a clearly defined purpose. Knowing where you’re going is essential to actually getting there.

Platforms

The big three players in this space right now and relevant to Sri Lanka are Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories and Snapchat.

Cons

  • Posting content frequently, often on a daily basis requires a budget, clear long term strategy and technical skills and resources. People may not remember your content, but they will remember how your content made and makes them feel.
  • When poorly executed, brands can gain short term notoriety but not the long-term value that they seek. Viral content may again create short term interest in the brand but may not contribute to, and in the worst cases may even draw away from, building brand loyalty.

Pros

  • It’s a great way to bring quick results if you have genuine news and information to share.
  • It’s a great way for startups to introduce products and services in a way that appeals to a wide audience that maybe otherwise difficult to reach.

Great Examples of Ephemeral Content

  • Men’s Health Australia – The magazine utilizes a simple ephemeral strategy to increase traffic to its website.

  • NASA – They use ephemeral content to go deep, offering background, additional information and more visuals that complement regular Instagram posts. NASA uses its Instagram Stories to show behind the scenes footage, which is very popular with fans.

  • Airbnb – Instagram Stories can be used to clearly gauge what the TG is thinking. Airbnb used this strategy in November last year when it asked followers to participate in a poll which looked simple, yet was professional and well structured. 

  • J.Crew – Since Instagram Stories are only 15 seconds long, consumers have to decide fast whether they want to visit your website or not. In this example, J.Crew gives special discounts to people who visit their online store via Instagram Stories.

Ephemeral Content is simply another strategy that is available to digital marketers that allows for innovative and fun campaigns that can directly involve the audience too. When executed correctly and consistently it can generate huge momentum and long lasting respect and loyalty for brands.

What do you think about ephemeral marketing? Have you used it? Have you experienced it as a consumer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

  

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